Tor Vergata University (Roma II)
Ground has been broken for a new Campus Master Plan, Sports City and Rectorate Tower.
Located to the east of central Rome, Tor Vergata University currently has a 1,480 acre campus serving 38,700 students in six schools: economics, law, engineering, arts and humanities, medicine and science.
Calatrava’s master plan for the campus, conceived with conscious reference to the Circus Maximus, is designed as a long promenade, bordered along its entire length by a double row of cypresses. At one end will be the new Sports City; at the other, the Rectorate of Tor Vergata University. A large urban park, linking the University with Sports City, will become a forum for meetings and social and cultural events.
Other buildings, to be developed later, will ultimately line the avenue, providing accommodations for students and housing new university faculties.
Sports City, to be developed in an area close to the Torrenova access to the Rome-Naples highway, will be comprised of two identical fan-shaped pavilions, arranged symmetrically, and a series of external infrastructure works to complete and complement the development. One of the pavilions will house the multi-purpose arena (Palasport); the other will accommodate the swimming pools (Palanuoto). The buildings will be functionally independent and therefore able to host different events at the same time.
The Palanuoto/Palasport complex will also contain gymnasia, laboratories, classrooms, teaching facilities, and a fitness and rehabilitation center, as well as offices and shops. Externally, the sporting area will be rounded off with a track for track and field events and an open-air swimming pool.
The essential element of the Rectorate, to be located at the opposite end of the main axis, is a tower, configured as a spiral winding around itself to produce a unified space that appears to stretch upward. The tower’s vertical profile is accentuated by metallic columns, which both constitute the structure and mark its shape. The design is transparent, so that the tower can draw light from the surrounding glazed surfaces and also (when illuminated at night) become a light source in itself.
A harmonious whole will be achieved in the campus by the presence of water, which will be a constant feature around the buildings and throughout the park. All architecture along the central promenade will be characterized by the transparency of the buildings, with alternating solid surfaces and glazed sections creating softly diffused light in the interiors and striking lighting effects externally, accentuated by reflections from the water. The landscaping will create a familiar setting, with the use of Mediterranean species such as cluster pines, false acacias and olive trees.
Sports City is scheduled for completion in time for the World Swimming Championships, to be hosted by Rome in 2009.